Mobile devices are improving by the day. And as they do, expect to see them take over whole industries as businesses take advantage of their size, weight, portability and performance.
The hospitality industry is always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience and improve business processes. This can easily be achieved by exploiting the unique properties of smart devices and tablets. Features like touchscreen and form factor, as well as the ability to connect peripherals like card readers, barcode scanners, contactless payment methods and handheld printers are highly advantageous.
So, what considerations should be made when choosing a tablet for hospitality applications, and what possible solutions are available?
1. Operating environment
In restaurants, tablets are at risk of water damage from spillages and cracks from drops. Deploying ruggedised tablets, or customising commercial tablets for added resilience, is a cost-effective way of negating these risks and optimising operational life.
2. Size and weight
Due to convenience, portability and size, industries are moving away from traditional fixed PCs, as tablets can do the same things while providing numerous additional benefits.
Tablets can be used in restaurants for order taking by waiters table to table, so having a smaller screen size and deploying carry solutions like holsters is advantageous.
3. BoM and after sales support
Tablets used in the hospitality industry are likely to be in continual use, and at times may be subject to rough handling. Bespoke service-level agreements and agreed returns processes provide peace of mind and function to reduce the total cost of ownership over the life of a product.
4. Battery life
Time is money in hospitality, making battery life of critical importance. Commercial tablets won’t usually provide the power necessary to operate through a full shift, causing downtime, lost revenue and staff inefficiency. Degradation can be minimised with bespoke designed batteries and cases, increasing life and maximising uptime.
5. Additional peripherals
Customising accessories for mobile devices helps the hospitality industry to improve performance. Accessories like hand straps, readers and contactless payment capabilities can be designed into a single solution. Custom charging stations, docks and other fixtures can further compliment this.
6. Software compatibility
Android devices can be more economical than Windows, but sometimes overlooked is the security management and update process which can be an issue for hospitality applications. In addition, most head office PCs run Windows, so ease of data transfer should be a key consideration when specifying a tablet.
7. Versatility in deployment
Tablets aren’t just for order taking, there are several other possible uses. Let’s take a look at a few:
Family friendly dining has always been popular, and tablets are adding to that experience by allowing children to play games on tablets. Customer survey tablets in branded casing at exit points are also useful, giving customers the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to management. Front of house tablets display menus while customers wait to be seated, this can be used to advertise new deals in real time.
A final benefit, and one that is often overlooked, relates to how tablets can improve the environment by replacing paper orders and receipts.
The hospitality industry consumes notebooks, pens and paper at rapid rate. A tablet can consolidate these into a single device, meaning less wasted paper. Some organisations are even offering their customers digital receipts via email to reduce their impact on the environment.
So move away from pen and paper order entry and deploy tablets in your restaurant. By switching tablets, you won’t only save business costs and improve the environment; you’ll increase your business performance, staff efficiency and customer satisfaction too!